TALK O’ SUCCESS

EPISODE 13: SHOLA MESE WITH NOYO DE MAYOR


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Topic: Interview


TALK O’ SUCCESS
NOYO DE MAYOR

DEACONSHOLA MESE IS THE CHAIRMAN/CEO FBI GROUP OF COMPANIES AND FOCUS GUARDS LTD. A SECURITY FIRM THAT HAS OVER 500 STAFF. HE IS THE PRESIDENT, SHOLA MESE FOUNDATION. SHOLA HAS AN INTERESTING TRIUMPHANT STORY. HIS SUCCESS STORY IS ONE LACED WITH THE ROUGHS YET TO THE MIRACULOUS. HE STARTED OUT AS A STREET HAWKER. LATER, A BUS CONDUCTOR, ATAILOR, AND FINALLY A SECURITY CONSULTANT.

SITTING DOWN WITH ME ON THE SHOW, THIS AMAZING MAN TOLD ME HE HAS NEVER WORKED FOR ANYBODY IN HIS LIFE

EXCERPT:

I want to first take you on security threat level in Delta State and Niger Delta as a whole; your thoughts, please.

DCN.SHOLA: Looking at the Security threat level in the Niger Delta, it is more of Political because when handling the security issues,it’s been done in a political way thereby bringing out political result instead of reasonable result. Another thing I would like to point out is that the youths are not getting proper counsel. I had an opportunity to speak with the Inspector General of Police sometime ago and I discovered that there is no counseling section in any of the police commands. Mind-blowing unemployment is one of the major problems also. If we can all just handle all these challenges then crime rates in Niger Delta would reduce. More importantly, we should not also forget that security is everybody’s business. If we do not help them they cannot do anything so they (security agents) need us all to make things work.You told me you could use N50,000 (or even) less to set up a youth. Your passion for job creation and empowerment interests me. I am particularly fascinated on how you could perform the magic because it is carelessly believed that one needs to have plenty of cash to get started. 

DCN. SHOLA:I do pray that all youths can understand what I am going to say now. In some companies,some staffers are paid N15,000 or  N10,000 and from that they can saveat least 4 months’ salary in order to start up something. Yes there are other youths that are too lazy to work but then again there are the serious ones and with full determination they can start up small business. For example, my foundation –Shola Mese Foundation, with 50 thousand naira has been able to take a lot of boys from the streets by setting them up in small businesses like car wash and barber’s shop.One day I will call you to come and interview these boys so that you can hear their testimonies. I have never worked for anyone in my life. At a very early age, I decided to “take the bull by the horn” and here I am today.

How many leaders know this, especially politicians that have plenty loyal boys on the street?

Politicians will never accept to help these youths. With all due respect Noyo, they fear helping the youths will make them independent. Once the youth become successful, there would not be foot soldiers at their beck and call. There is a Chinese adage that says “teach someone how to fish rather than giving him fish on a daily basis”. They should teach these boys how to fish rather than giving them fish.

Let’s get back to your past, you were a motor boy (along along), tailor, a street hawker, marine boy, were you ever discouraged then, or remained hopeful?

DCN. SHOLA:I was hopeful and I will remain Hopeful, yes I was a motor boy(along along),I even hawked Goldspot and Limka on the street. It was not easy at all growing up. I was born here in Warri,Iyara to be precise. I grew up atIgbudu. I joined the labourers that built that GKS church along Warri-Sapele road.

 What did you do?...

I carried blocks…laughs

After secondary school I toldmy parents to relax. I think I left them at age 16. I left my parents’ house to pursue greener pastures. With the help of my uncle I went into tailoring. I bought my first sewing machine for N300 at Omoboy then. Once you have passion, believe me there is nothing you set your mind to do that you cannot accomplish. In the year 1990/1991 I got an award for best designer of the year in the whole of Edo/Delta. Shortly after then, I stopped tailoring and went into leasing of equipment,till I got my own equipment – barge, houseboats and what have you. After the crisis in Warri,I took part­-time course in Criminology in UNIPORT and it was there I got close to the Nigerian Navy through my relationship with the son of a former general in the army. My passion for security started from there. I set up my security outfit shortly after the end of the military administration of late Gen. SaniAbacha.Today, the rest is history. Everybody believes that setting up business is about making money, but you said setting up your security firm was about serving humanity; not making money. I find that strange to believe.

DCN. SHOLA: Let me answer you this way: If you join the military because you want to become head of states, you either end up becoming a coup plotter and if you are not successful with that plotting you end up losing your life and maybe family. But if you are committed to all the trainings and take all the courses, you will rise to that position that would make you the head of states even without knowing it. So it is with business. You see it’s all about passion. Most people first try to calculate how much profit they can make even before steadying on the business because all they think about is money. For me I made sure my staff is well taken care of and they do the same for me by working withsincerity and that is how my firm keeps increasing. I started out to meet a need by solving security problems. I have always loved to help humanity. Setting up FBI was basically about taking boys off the street as my own contribution to helping humanity.  Let’s focus on your conglomerate - FBI, Focus Guards, FBI Graphics, SMET Integrated, Shola Mese Foundation, how did you string all of these to become a big conglomerate?DCN. SHOLA: You see it is very easy. Instead of going out to buy water, I set up a water factory, instead of going out to buy chicken I set up poultry. It is the same philosophy. Instead of going out to look for job for these boys, I decided to set up these small firms to support the work force so I can have all the raw materials within the same circle and thatis why in the FBI Complex you get all of these. 

Are you satisfied with the state of our young boys and girls in the Niger Delta, don’t you think leaders; politicians are interfering in the career and path of their lives?DCN. SHOLA: Of course I am not satisfied at all because first of all these men call our young ones the leaders of tomorrow but we are not seeing the leadership trait in them yet because they are not being utilized the proper way. You are teaching them the hard way by starving them of help.You do not show them love so how do you expect such persons to respect you? Those boys that call you bros bros, do so because they want something from you not because they respect you and am being realistic. When you see that they are not growing or getting anywhere it’s all because the leadership is not functioning well they are not doing what they should to make our youths useful to themselves.Our leaders are very greedy. They do not want the development of these boys.

So Shola, by way of solution, how would you propose Deltans- both here in the country and in the diaspora help these youths we have been talking about?

DCN. SHOLA: Let us change our selfish lifestyle. We should be selfless –not always thinking about ourselves all the time. Those expensive wines some of us drink can set up some youths for life. Let us see how we can help the youths by genuinely empowering them. That will give us the assurance of a peaceful sleep because there would be no problem from the youth rather the youths will do all they can to protect you and make sure you are safe. That is the kind of life I want for myself.Let’s bring the youths closer and this message is for the leaders. These youths are not wayward by default. Most of them seem aggressive owing to frustration. To my dear youth, please, if they give to you it is a plus but if they do not give to you it is not a minus. Hunger does not kill anybody. Whatever you have no matter how little, hold on to it and use it to improve your life pending when a big break comes.

 Mr. Mese, thank you again for coming on Talk O’ Success

 My pleasure, Noyo de Mayor…

 Culled from Rize FM 106.7


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